What You Should Know About Heat Stress
Heat stress is a type of stress that can occur in a variety of situations, namely wherever work is taking place in hot and humid environments. In order to properly understand this, it is critical to realize how the human body works. The body best functions within a narrow, specific range of internal temperature, and this core temperature varies from 36ºC-38ºC. The heart rate increases to move blood and heat from the lungs and other vital organs to the skin.
Sweating then increases so that more sweat can evaporate and cool the body, and this is actually the body`s most important way of dispersing excess heat, but when too much sweat is lost too quickly, the body ends up with no way left to cool itself, and the result of this is dehydration.
Signs And Symptoms Of Heat Stress
There are various signs and symptoms that you will most often begin to notice if your body starts suffering from heat stress, and in particular this includes weakness, difficulty moving, headache, breathlessness, nausea or vomiting, and feeling faint or actually fainting. If you ever begin to experience any of these, there are some important steps that you should take as immediately as possible.
Remember that cooling off is your main objective here, and you need to rest in a cool place, drink lots of cool water, remove any unnecessary clothing from off your body, loosen remaining clothing, and wipe yourself off with cool water.
If heat stress is not dealt with properly or soon enough, heat stroke can occur, as this is what happens when the body is no longer able to cool itself and the body`s temperature rises to critical levels. The onset of heat stroke brings symptoms such as confusion, irritable behavior, loss of consciousness, convulsions, lack of sweating, and an abnormally high body temperature.
Any case of heat stroke, whether caused by heat stress or not, requires immediate medical attention, and this means that you need to call 911 or your local emergency number, and provide immediate, aggressive, general cooling. Immerse yourself in a tub of cool water, or spray yourself with cool water from a hose, whatever you can do to attempt to cool yourself off as quickly as possible.
You should make it to the hospital on your own if you can, and do not take anything by mouth until you speak to a medical professional. Heat stress can cause very serious conditions and you need to take all of the necessary precautions into consideration for your own health and safety.